Leverage and legacy are the broader and longer-lasting national and local benefits that are set in motion then realised by an event.
It may be useful to consider the three different categories of benefits that can be achieved by an event:
- Direct benefits
These are benefits for the respective sport/art, region and country that will occur simply by virtue of the event taking place. In other words, the achievement of these benefits is within the scope of the current operational plan for the event so no additional specific course of action is required.
- Leverage opportunities
These are the additional benefits that can be developed around the event itself. These benefits are likely to be outside the immediate scope of current planning for the event and additional action is likely to be required to maximise the benefits for the respective sport/art, region and country.
- Legacy opportunities
These are the lasting or long-term benefits that can be accrued beyond the event. Exploring these opportunities requires a deliberate and focused action plan to ensure that lasting positive benefits are delivered to the respective sport/art, region and country.
In essence, the concept of leverage and legacy is all about understanding and acknowledging the broader benefits that an event can deliver to the wider community and country.
Organisers must ensure that an event is structured and managed in such a way that opportunities to deliver positive and lasting changes and benefits for a region and its communities are maximised.
Community involvement is key to realising intangible benefits
Major events have many intangible benefits and can create significant social good. The excitement of being chosen to host an event can be infused directly into communities, schools and other areas, with powerful results.
However, it is not only large events that can maximise the benefit to a city or region - smaller events, if well planned, can often have a greater cumulative effect on a region, especially where there is a concerted effort to develop an ongoing legacy.
In addition, events (both large and small) can promote new ideas and behaviours such as environmental sustainability, diversity and community involvement.
Central and local government funding
It is becoming increasingly necessary for event organisers to tap into central and local government funding due to increased competition for traditional funding sources.
Given that both central and local government are, in essence, investing taxpayer or ratepayer dollars, a strong emphasis is placed on maximising leverage and legacy opportunities which will provide both short-term and long-term benefits to the community and country as a result of hosting the event.
It is important that investment from central and local government is treated the same as investment from the private sector:
- consider what benefits the event can provide that meet the specific partner’s goals and expectations;
- seek to understand what motivates the potential funder; and
- identify leverage or legacy opportunities that are relevant to achieving their strategic goals and objectives.
Start leverage and legacy planning early
The concept of creating leverage and legacy must be integrated into the overall vision and objectives for the event.
Leverage and legacy planning needs to underpin the whole approach to the event. It is important that leverage and legacy planning start during the initial feasibility and bidding stages.